I heard somewhere that dread wax is bad for dreads, is your wax bad for dreads? - Dreadlocks FAQ's
Before I answer I need to mention that my experience is limited to Dread Head Dread Wax....I can not speak for other dread waxes...
I've heard a few people say this too. I'm never sure how to respond. I usually want to slap my forehead and say "YES. WAX IS THE DEVIL, IT'S THE REASON MY DREADS SUCK SO BAD!"
I almost always resist this urge and start off by mentioning the DreadHeadHQ Before and After pictures... I think seeing the pictures of several thousand people* who started started and maintained their dreads with our products says more than I ever could.
I might also share with them a few hundred of our testimonials. People so thrilled with how our wax helped their dreads lock that they are life long fans, Mothers thrilled that they were able to salvage their sons neglect dreads, individuals who tried dreading before without wax and are so glad to have a product that makes the process faster and gives them the option of making smoother, tighter dreads...
I usually zone out at that point, and I start trying to imagine the different beliefs that could cause an otherwise honest person to misinform another person.....in other words what special kind of crazy would cause a person to say wax is bad for dreads?
After giving it some though I've classified several possible personalities who might make such a statement. Please don't mistake presentation of these fictional characters for "name calling". Each of these fictional character sketches are good people who for their own reasons are unable to believe that each day people all over the world use dread wax to achieve dreads that they enjoy for years to come.
1) The Overwaxer: The overwaxer tried dread wax himself...he may have even used good wax, the problem is he didn't take the time to read the instructions so he started out by putting way too much wax in his hair and he never got help to correct the problem. Now he swears up and down that wax is bad because he experienced the following:
a) the dreads looked gross and waxy
b) the dreads were tacky and stuck to everything
c) the wax was really hard to rinse out (if you ask he'll even produce a picture of a dread with way too much wax in it. Should we tell him that wax is supposed stay in the dread until your rinse it out and the more max you put in the longer it will take to rinse it out?)
d) the dreads didn't come together well
The overwaxer is constantly baffled by everyone who uses wax correctly and loves it. He deals with his confusion by speaking out loudly against wax. Many overwaxers are lost causes, they'll always hate wax and may get quite agitated and rude if the subject is even brought up. Despite the evidence they'll insist that everyone has a bad experience with wax. He'll even go as far as to tell you that every glowing testimonial of dread wax success for the last 10 years was a fabrication - a fake - put in place by "employees" of the big wax selling companies. Yea, I guess all the people on Facebook that rave about how wax helped their dreads come together are fake too. What a scam. Good thing this overwaxer figured it all out...and now he'll "save you" from getting scammed too! lol
I understand where these guys are coming from (at least some of them) and I feel partly responsible for their confusion. In the past my instructions regarding the amount of wax to use were too vague. Instructions for how to wax were in multiple places on the site and they varied in clarity and completeness. While reading all of them would have given you a good understanding of how much wax to use, you could have easily read only one and had an incomplete picture. I'm aware of the issue and I've taken steps to correct it. Many thanks to those that have brought this to my attention and given me the chance to resolve it.
2) I don't gotta-Locks: This individual doesn't want to do anything to his dreads that he doesn't absolutely have to. He doesn't have to clockwise rub so he's not gunna. He doesn't have to put loose hair back in his dreads so he won't....and nobody is going to talk him into waxing. He's more concerned with "not doing anything" than he is with how the dreads turn out. The irony here is that if he put some work in up front, his dreads would lock quickly and then he'd have great dreads without doing much else, you don't have to do much of anything to mature dreads except keep them clean...but he doesn't want to hear that, he only wants to talk about what he doesn't gotta do.
3) Mr. Natural-noWax: I really identify with Mr. Natural-noWax. He loves that dreads are a very natural hair style and likes the idea of dreading up naturally. I do too, in fact I would never dread any other way. One of our primary concerns has always been to use only methods and products that allowed the dreads to lock naturally rather than forcing the hair to lock with chemical processes. It's better for the hair, it's better for the environment and in my experience it makes better looking dreads. Unfortunately someone has convinced Mr. Natrual-noWax that there is something less natural about starting dreads with the assistance of natural ingredients so he thinks wax is bad. Usually just learning about the difference between natural and chemical dreading methods clears this up, other times he insists that any intervention is "un-natural" so he's more of a neglector "see #5 below".
4) Mr. Misery loves company: This is probably the most bitter character. I don't think there are too many of these but I've come across a few.
Starting dreads with our methods makes better dreads happen faster....a lot faster. When someone that didn't use these methods sees your dreads and learns that yours are years newer and look better there are two types of reactions:
A) "Wow, so mine are almost 5 years old and yours are 1 year old and your's look so much better....what did you use?"
B )Oh... So did you put something on them?...(yea I used that dread head stuff, so are yours still pretty new?) Mine? No, they're almost 4 years old now..(Oh, did you use wax?)...No, I didn't use anything on them....
Now the second response is from Mr. Misery. He was actually pretty chill there, but he can get rowdy sometimes. Here's what he's thinking: He doesn't feel it's fair that someone can have better dreads in less time. He feels hey should have to wait for ages too, just like he did. He says: "Wax is bad, you don't need it!" and "Even though they look like this, my dreads are better cause I didn't use wax." he might also say "...my dreads are "real" dreads...your dreads are candlesticks." Pretty sad huh? Are we name calling?
Sometimes I feel bad for Mr. Misery...all that anger. Maybe it's not fair that he had to wait longer for messy lookin' dreads... Maybe it's not fair that we make dread wax. The thing is, everyone has different hair. Many people have hair textures that simply won't dread at all without the right assistance. Should they be denied the opportunity to enjoy dreads? I think that would be very unfair. There's also people that hold jobs where there dreads have to look good quickly...should they be denied dreads? Me thinks no. So, much to Mr. Misery's dismay, were gunna keep makin' wax.
5) The Neglector: The neglector is obsessed with the idea that dreads should form completely without assistance. He might share beliefs with many of the other characters but his bottom line is that he wants to see what will happen if he just does nothing. Adding wax is "doing something" so it's bad. If someone is obsessed with neglecting their hair, and their job and lifestyle permits it, they should go for it. If it's not what they expected they can try something else later. In fact I'd say about 30% of the people who start dreads with our products and methods have experimented with neglect beforehand. Sometimes people are able to comb it out, section it, and start dreads without a problem. Other times you need Dread Zasta to comb it out, but frequently too much hair is lost trying to cut apart giant mats and you have to grow your hair out again.
6) The Crazy Caveman: The crazy caveman just wants to push the envelope. He wants his dreads to be as shocking and as wild as he is. This is the naked guy at the party who funnels 5 beers in a row, chums over the fence and does it again. He's seen pictures of clean, maintained-looking dreads made with our stuff and he's not interested. He's also seen some pics of neglected dreads that look insane. They weren't quite what he wanted, but they were closer than the perfect looking dreads. He doesn't really want to wait the extra time but he's decided to go the neglect route anyway and see how crazy his come out. He's heard from the neglector that "wax is bad" but he doesn't have anything against it personally. I like this character too. I like to hear how stoked he gets when I let him know that he can make crazy dreads, just like he wants, and that he can make them way faster with our stuff. He likes the idea that he can have control over what they look like so he can make sure they come out looking just like he imagines them.
7) Anti-business Guy: This guy has a political agenda. He believes that every business is an evil corporation and that all things produced by corporations are bad and should be boycotted. He says wax is made by a corporation so it's bad. I'm sure you can probably think of several flaws in this reasoning. If this is one of your concerns I should let you know that Dread Head HQ is a huge corporation, currently consisting of 2 people. I don't mean that it's owned by 2 people employs hundreds, I mean that we're 2 people total. I've seen lemonade stands with more than 2 people so if you're looking to hate on a corporation you can hate on us if you want, but a "corporation" we are not :) (edit, we were 4 people at one point but now it's just Knotty Sloan and I, and Knotty Sloan's sister who helps us out occasionally and is every bit as cute as she sounds on the phone)
8) The Hear-sayer: The Hear-sayer reminds me of a third grader. He has no understanding of dreads or dread wax and he many not even have dreads. He watched a few videos from anti-waxers and now he tells everyone who will listen like it's his strongest personal conviction. It's amazing how convincing these people are until you start asking them questions. Get the facts brah. We still love ya.
9) The false prophet: This is a tricky character. He has great dreads so you believe what he tells you - after all he must know his stuff right? Here's how I came to know the nature of the false prophet...When I see people with great dreads who say they "didn't use wax" I always ask questions. You know what I find....a shocking 95%, of the time? Some wax was used during the first couple weeks when they started their dreads, and sometimes it's used much longer or just not washed out with a hot rinse. Many of them have wax in the hair for as long as 2-3 months!
If they were following the instructions they'd know that after the first month they should do a hot rinse to remove the wax and that from then on they didn't need wax in the hair all the time, but that's not why they stopped using it. They stopped using it and washed it out because they read some BS about how it was going to "ruin" their dreads. There dreads go on to lock in the next couple months. But here's the kicker... Even though their dreads were hugely benefited by the wax they used they ignore this possibility and proceed to tell everyone that they started their dreads without wax and they recommend that others don't use wax. The other people see their great dreads and BELIEVE THEM!! The product they are denouncing helped them gain their credibility. How WRONG is that!!! Out of all of these characters I think this guys is my least favorite because he is so deceiving. The poor guy that takes his advice ends up thinking there is something wrong with him because his dreads won't lock up all tight and smooth the the false profit said.
So I think that covers 'em. Keep an eye out for more of these guys. If you come across any I didn't mention, let me know, we can add'em to the list.
I am all about keeping an open mind but I've never had a customer call and say that wax had damaged their dreads in any way - I've also never had anyone ask for a refund because they were not satisfied ....ever. I've talked to very few people that were over waxing. Most people who do over wax figure it out very quickly and remove the extra wax with a hairdryer. It's not a big deal. The fact that a hand full of haters are blowing up something so simple and easily corrected is pretty shocking. I'd think it was funny if they weren't preventing people from getting dreads or causing people to have to re-start their dreads because their first set didn't have the benefit of good products and methods.
Most people realize that the wax is a tool and they are in control of it. They take responsibility for using it. If a customer ever does contact me and tell me wax is "ruining" their dreads I will be happy to talk with them until they understand how to use it and I'll make them promise to call me back in a few weeks and make sure everything is going well with their dreads.
One very positive thing that has come from all this attention to dread wax is that I have improved our instructions and put up very specific information. We now have the amount of wax that should be used in grams per inch. This is probably overkill but we can now be certain that nobody will accidentally over wax after reading our instructions.
For some Dread Vlog Videos on the Wax Controversy check out Dreadlocks.tv
PS: A lot of Anti-Waxers have posted links to this page, citing it as an example of me "demonizing" them or ridiculing people who don't use wax. They say I'm calling them cavemen etc. I have to laugh because it couldn't be further from the truth. If you read it carefully you'll see that I'm simply giving examples of the types of personalities that I think may have strong anti-wax feelings. I've come across individuals who I'm basing these ideas on - I'm not making them up - but I'm not saying that all Anti-Wax people fit these descriptions.
In other words, I'm not saying that all anti-waxers are crazy caveman - I'm saying that some crazy cavemen, who are cool with being crazy cavemen, don't like wax because they think it will take the crazy out of their dreads. So if you're not a caveman, then that character has nothing to do with you. Maybe you're an anti-business guy, maybe you're not, I don't know...I'm just saying that I've come across people that had these beliefs.
I have given some thought to what traits are common to all people that speak out against using wax. I've actually asked some of them flat out too - but rather than telling me what they thought they might all have in common I only heard about what they didn't have in common and what they didn't all like. The only thing they all agree on is that they don't like wax. That's why I call them Anti-Waxers. I'm still curious though, so if you have any light to shed I'd love to hear from you.
* "If a pictures worth a thousand words, several thousand pictures would be worth...um...crap!....that's math I can't even do!"